U>*L3<> THE CONCORD SAUNTERER October 1963 Vol 3 No 3 THE CABIN AND THE PAD Our big autumn events are a lecture on Saturday, October 26th by Frederick T% McGill, Jr., professor of English and associ- ate dean of the Rutgers College of Arts and Sciences in Newark, New Jersey, followed on Sunday the 27th, by a groundbreaking for the Walden house replica, to be built behind the Lyceum. Professor McGill f s talk, entitled "The Cabin and the Pad", will relate the Newness in Concord of the 1840s to certain radical youth movements of the 1960s. It will take Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Alcott and Channing and see how they developed in their relationships with the Establishment of their day. Those of us who know Fred McGill will know that this discussion will be witty and informative and will neither slight nor exag gerate the problems which the youth of today see as confronting them. His ability to - 2 - present the people he is considering as real men and women is highly regarded. Some of us in Concord , I am told, know Fred McGill from his Harvard days in the late 1920s when he was puzzling with the character of Thoreau's friend William Slier y Charming II, whose failure to gather his forces by a Walden-like experience in- trigued Fred McGill. His book, Changing of Concord , was published by Rutgers only last year. Others of us have come to know Fred McGill and his wife Ginny at the Isles of Shoals where they have been active since the late 1920s, and since 1951 associate manager, host and hostess for the Star Island Con- ferences where Unitarians, Congregational! sts and others continue a tradition of lyceum- like discussions on problems of ethics, science, religion, national and international affairs. While Tftoreau never visited the Isles of Shoals, its start as a cultural resort was prompted by his Harvard friends - Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Levi Lincoln Thaxter, the latter marrying Celia Laighton, whose father chose to run the lighthouse and withdraw from mainland affairs. Details on Fred McGill 1 s lecture: October 26th, Saturday d:00 PM The place .... Alcott School (Directions: Going West from Concord Center, bear left at the Library, turn left again and follow to the end of the street). Admission. Enrolled students $1 Others $1.50 Please order tickets by contacting the Lyceum (Phone 369-5912) Details on the Walden house replica ground- breaking: At the Lyceum, Sunday, October 27th, 3:30. The program will be brief. Tea and sherry at 4:30 . 3 - Every now and then one or two college students stop by the Lyceum, sometimes like stormy petrels . We are learning to think beyond the length or brevity of their hair (musing in passing of £merson f s "long-haired men and short-haired women"), and find that some have interesting projects, often well developed . One recent arrival, Robert Fleming, is interested in the social assimilation of the Irish immigrants in Concord in the 19th and 20th centuries - from the time of the pass- word "NINA" (no Irish need apply), to the present. Thanks to Thomas McGrath, we were able to furnish him with this quotation from the Concord 1&60 Town Report: "Births, whole no. 43, being 5 less than in 1#59* Males 2g; females 15. Of these only 14 were born of Irish parents, being less than one third of the whole. Last year one half were of Irish parents, so that America will have cause to be hopeful." Bronson Alcott, in his school reports, admired the "quick-witted Green islanders". Another arrival, by motorcycle, was Richard Lee Fulgham, a personable young man interested in writing, taking part of his education in traveling. He*s an English major at Golumbus College, and writes about Thoreau, Whitman, the Chattahoochee River for the Columbus Georgia Ledger -Enquirer. Tom Blanding, at Marlboro College is doing a thesis ©n Thoreau involving the manu- scripts of the journal. He is earning money on the side playing trumpet in a jazz band, with possibly a few New England Conservatory overtones. Perhaps we may have more news of him in a subsequent issue. Some of us may think the use of the word "pad" in the present sense is new; it is in fact the same as that of Shake speare f s immortal Petruchio: "It matters not how good you are or even yet how bad you are, Welcome to my Padua..." - 4 - August Derleth f s hundredth published book was Concord Rebel: A Life of Henry David Thoreau * We learn that his Walden Ponds Homage to Thoreau is due from the Finders early in November* This tells of three pilgrimages to Concord from his home in Sauk City near Madison, Wisconsin* It will be an attractively handset, hand-printed volume, a limited edition, illustrated by his neighbor, Frank Utpatel* For Derleth, Sauk City is his Walden West, the scene of his Sac Prairie Saga, with novels, short stories and books like Village Year , V illage Daybook , Wisconsin SarthT drawn from his journal* He is completing a biography of Emerson, Concord Sage , for Macmillan* From a preview, we would say that Walden Pond will be an interesting collector's item ]T with some perceptive and amusing comments. Derleth has already had several books handset by Carroll Coleman of Prairie Press, and one of them was among the hundred best printed books of its year* The Lyceum has placed an initial order, and ours will be autographed by author and artist, at #3.50 plus 25^ handling. KNOCKED OFF HIS PERCH! Ever since Thoreau* s fishing pun about the Senobites in Walden , we have not held back quite as much as we might ft»©m similar catch-phrases. At any rate, some of our friends were quite annoyed to hear that a chemical was put into Walden Pond recently to kill off the assorted fish prior to stock- ing the pond with game fish. The fish catch wasn f t particularly spectacular - no horn pout or pickerel were reported, though trout, small mouth bass, yellow perch, blue gills, punkin seed and smelts were. Walden is a two- story pond, not like the shallow pis- catoria which the monks used to cultivate and harvest • It is not clear that Walden can - 5 - or probably will support a really substantial game fish population, although three other two story ponds nearby - Jamaica Pond, Knopps Pond and Forest Lake - do give fishermen more than the excuse of a pleasant environment • On September 28th, Professor Edgarton was the leader of a group of ten or more electronics firms holding an outing with the Marine Technological Society to measure Wal- den Pond and to determine its source, using electronic gear rather than a plumb line through holes in the ice. They confirmed Thoreau f s depth figure of 102 feet, and that this lowest point was where a roiling underground spring did feed the pond. Professor Edgarton was wearing a rumpled business suit with a double string of guru beads around his neck* While he is a master showman, he did use the beads to keep count of depth-measuring devices while watching some of the other gear. Latest in the Rivers of America series is The Allagash , by Lew Dietz, published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, at $7»50. A chapter deals with Henry Thoreau f s interest in Maine and the two rivers - the Allegash and the East Branch • Dietz expresses rather well the idea that within "the dark canopy of a mature conifer forest 11 life is quite sparse away from the river, and there are still wilderness elements there. Few Indians inhabited this region, except those traveling by river. This north-flowing river was - eventually tapped of its timber, to be diverted from Canada by dams and sluices to Bangor. - 6 - WILLIAM HAMILTON GIBSON Several colleagues who are better naturalists have agreed with me in their shared enjoyment of the late 19th century- writer, William Hamilton Gibson. The two books of his which I like best are Sharp Syes and Eye Spy . ! The former is subtitled "A Rambler 1 s calendar of fifty-two weeks among insects, birds, and flowers, w and was pub- lished by Harpers in 1$92 with illustrations by the author. He got his start as an illus- trator, in fact, in the style of the very attractive first American greeting cards by Prang, or by Homer *s contemporary, Harry Fenn f and Gibson f s early work appeared in Appleton f s Magazine and for Bryant f s ornate Picturesque America . Gibson was a self-taught naturalist, whatever that means, certainly it does not reflect on the care which he gave to the interesting topics concerning these minor forms of life. He was concerned with the growth and shapes of the kaleidoscopic life we encounter in our fields, meadows, over- grown backlots, woods and brooks, - the witch-hazel f s mechanism for ejecting its seeds; butterflies that appear in winter thaws; fox-fire, the phosphorescence or will o f the wisp which more recently has been linked to UFO s; mushroom spore-prints, curious cocoons, caddis-larva, tendrils... Most important of all, he is interesting to read. His other books include Pastoral pays; Highways and Byways ; Strolls by Star- light^ and SunsKine ; Our Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms ; MyJStudio Neighbors ; Bloisom Hosts and Insect Guests ; and OurTjfative Orchids . A biography, by John Coleman Adams, describes this Connecticut Yankee, who was born in I85O and died in 1$96, having a lifespan about as long as Thoreau f s. None of his books are in print at this writing. - 7 - Two similar books, but less compulsively interesting are A.J* Grout f s Mosses with a Hand-Lens and D f Arcy Thompson y s On Growth and Form , discussing the engineering rules which seem to have supported surviving life-forms thoughout animate creation* Both these books are available as reprints, the latter in an abridged form - giving it in turn a greater chance of survival... WINSLOW HOMER Whether or not you can stop by at the Lyceum, we are inclined to tell you about our next exhibit, which should be up by late Oc- tober* It will show the graphic art of Win- slow Homer, with a few reprints of the paint- ings, a few of which do have equivalents as prints, or woodcuts, but since we don*t own any of the originals, must make do with copies. Homer was like Thoreau in several re- spects - a bachelor, he had the care of his infirm father. Even more, he had an eye for the country and the countryman, the country boy, the world of wildness - in Homer f s case, it was the ocean at Prout f s Neck, Maine, the Adirondacks, the New England country scene#.. Homer was born in 1336 and died in 1910. After an apprenticeship to a lithographer, he served as artist war-correspondent for Harper f s Weekly. Like Thoreau, he was rather wary of impositions; more so in his case perhaps since he was more successful in financial terms - coming at a later date when more wealth was lavished on the arts - but both men were of , the neat bachelor variety. Homer drank; Thoreau didn f t. No one seems to know quite how or why Homer avoided matrimony - in spite of bachelor Henry James f s remarks about Homer f s corn-fed women, he gave them a fair place in his art, and no more. - g - Now, About Money. •• There are two paramount factors to the Lyceum 1 s growth which will not permit equivocation. These are time and money. Time is of importance - or perhaps timing is - in that those of us who do the presenting find subjects of continuing interest to you who are helping by being interested, by purchases or contributions, or renewing the nominal annual dues. Money is important only as we are able to find valid applications for it; if we cannot, it is a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal... Thus, we owe you our imaginations, and we ask you that you share in interests by writing, by buying our wares. A professor from Texas expressed her in- terest in helping us to buy the Texas house. We are trying to make this a reality, and hope to tell her soon how we propose to do it. Leo- nard Kleinfeld hopes that we may have a Sacrifice Auction to sell a chosen rare book (perhaps a fatted calf, or at least "the old red rooster* ) as something of Thoreau interest to help out on the cost of the Walden house replica. Demand for good Thoreau material runs way ahead of supply, so that every time we turn around we pay more for an out of print item than we just sold our last copy for. Speaking of our friends, the board of trustees has just asked Miss Margaret Lothrop, Messrs. Frederick McGill and Benjamin Grone- wold to join our Honorary Trustees, and Mrs. Frank McClintock to join the working trustee group. •. We hope they can comply. THE THOREAU LYCEUM, 43 Belknap Street, Coacord, Massachusetts, 01742. Tel.: 617-369-5912. Non- profit & tax exempt. Annual dues: Member, $3. Friend of the Lyceum, $10; Contributing Member $25; Life Member $100.